Maturity of Spirit – Osho

What is meant by “maturity of spirit”?

Just awakening to your nothingness. This is the difficulty: maturity will never give you the idea of nothingness. But unless you touch your inner space, which is nothingness as silent and empty as the sky … it is your inner sky. Once you settle down in your inner sky, you have found a home and a great maturity arises in your actions, in your behavior. Then whatever you do has grace in it. Then whatever you do is poetry in itself. You live poetry; your walking becomes dancing, your silence becomes music.

By maturity is meant that you have come home. You are no more a child who has to grow – you have grown up. You have touched the height of your potential. For the first time, in a strange sense you are not, and you are. You are not in your old ideas, imaginations, in your old comprehension of yourself; all that has gone down the drain. Now something new arises in you, absolutely new and virgin, which transforms your whole life into joy.

You have become a stranger to the miserable world. You don’t create misery for yourself or for anybody else. You live your life in total freedom, without any consideration for what others will say.

The people, who are always considering others and their opinions, are immature. They are dependent on the opinions of others; they can’t do anything authentically, honestly. They can’t say what they want to say, they say what others want to hear.

Your politicians say the things that you want to hear. They give you the promises you want. They know perfectly well that they cannot fulfill these promises, neither is there any intent to fulfill them.

But if they say exactly, truthfully, what the situation is, and make it clear to you that many of the things you are asking for are impossible, that they cannot be done, they will be thrown out of power.

You will not choose a politician who is honest.

It is a very strange world. It is almost an insane asylum. If, in this insane asylum, you become alert and aware of your being, you are blessed.

-OSHO

From Zen: The Diamond Thunderbolt, Chapter Eleven

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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What is Satori – Osho

What is satori and how to attain it?

Pratima, satori is exactly your ordinary nature; it is not anything special. Hence there is no question of attaining it – it is already the case. You are in it, you have just forgotten. You have become too occupied with the outside world. You have forgotten your own kingdom, you have forgotten your own treasure, you have forgotten yourself. You have become too concerned with others. You are too much in the world and you don’t give any time, any space for your inner nature to have a dialogue with you, to whisper a few things to you. You have become artificial.

You have created a false ego because nobody can live without a center. You have forgotten your real center, and nobody can live without a center, so you have created a false center as a substitute. That’s the ego. Ego simply means living with a false center.

Satori is dropping the false, entering into the real; just being yourself, your natural self, your ordinary self.

The word “ordinary” has to be remembered because the mind is not interested in the ordinary at all; it wants to be extraordinary, it wants to be special. It is through being special that the ego survives.

It is constantly striving to be more special, more special. It wants to be more rich, more powerful, more respectable; it is ambitious. Hence the word “ordinary” has no appeal for the mind. And that is the beauty of the word “ordinary” – because it has no appeal for the mind.

Mind is an achiever and the ordinary need not be achieved; it is already the case. The extraordinary has to be achieved, the extraordinary becomes the goal. It is far away; you have to make all kinds of efforts, you have to struggle for it, you have to fight for it because there are so many competitors.

To be ordinary… and there is no competition at all. You can just be ordinary, nobody has any objection. People will simply feel sorry for you that you have dropped out of the competitive race.

One competitor less – they will feel good but sorry for you. They will say, “Poor fellow! What happened to him? Why did he have to drop out?” The dropouts are not respectable people. Buddha is a dropout. All real Masters are dropouts. To be a sannyasin means to be a dropout. To drop out of the rat race is to drop in, because when you are in the race you cannot enter in. When you are no longer in the race there is nowhere to go. You start moving inwards because life is a flow: if there is no outer direction it takes the inner direction. If the goal is not there far away in the future, then you start moving into your nature in the present. That is satori.

Satori is very ordinary. Satori means your nature. You have come with it; it is your original face – all other faces are masks.

Yoka says:

A disciple speaks in accordance with the ultimate, the absolute truth.

Remember that one should cut the root and not the branches and the leaves.

What is the root of your misery? The root is your ambition, desiring. One wants to be this and that, one wants to possess this and that, one wants to be somebody, one wants to be significant.

Yoka says: Cut the root… only then are you a disciple. And the moment you cut the root – not the branches, not the leaves – you attain the ultimate truth. The ultimate truth is not far away; it is the immediate truth, it is your truth, it is your very being.

Most people do not recognize the perfect jewel, the jewel of supreme wisdom, satori. It is hidden in the secret place of Tathagata, awaiting its discovery.

It is to live in your suchness; it is hidden in your suchness. Whatsoever you are, live in it. Don’t create any conflict, don’t live through the ideal. Don’t be an idealist, just be natural.

But everybody is being taught to be an idealist: “Become a Jesus” or “Become a Buddha” or “Become a Krishna.” Nobody tells you just to be yourself! Why should you be a Jesus? One Jesus is enough and one Jesus is beautiful – he enriches the existence. Many Jesuses just carrying crosses, and wherever you go you meet them… It won’t look beautiful, it won’t add to the beauty of existence; it will make the whole world ugly. Wherever you go you meet a Mahavira standing naked…. It is because of this that God never creates the same person again. He never repeats; he is original.

He always creates a new person. You have never been before, and there is no one who is like you, and there will never be anybody else like you again. In the whole of eternity you alone are just like you. Look at the beauty of it and the glory of it and the respect that God has shown to you! What more respectability do you need? See the uniqueness of yourself. There is no need to be unique; you are already unique, just as everybody else is unique. You are unique in your ordinariness, in your suchness.

Satori is hidden, says Yoka, in the secret place of your suchness, awaiting its discovery.

It has not to be created, it is already there; you just have to discover it. Go in and discover it! It is waiting and waiting. And centuries have passed and many, many lives have passed, and you have become addicted to extroversion. You never move in.

The first step towards satori is meditation. Satori is the ultimate experience of meditation when meditation is fulfilled, when meditation has reached to its ultimate flowering.

Yoka says:

The world is complete illusion, yet nothing exists which might be called illusion.

The world that you have created through your mind is illusory, but there is another world which is not your creation. When your mind disappears you discover that world: the world of suchness. That is a totally different experience. No words can describe it. Thousands of mystics have tried to describe it, but nobody has ever been able and nobody will ever be able to describe it. It is so mysterious; it is so beautiful that all words fall short. No poetry reaches to its level, no music even touches its feet.

The perfect light of this wisdom enlightens one.

The moment you have put your mind aside – mind means ambition, the ego trip of being this and that – the moment you have put the whole mind aside, a great light explodes in you and you are enlightened. This is satori. It does not come from the outside: you are not delivered by somebody else; you are delivered by your own being, by your own nature.

That is possible only by practicing zazen beyond speculation. You can see clouds naturally in the mirror but to hold on to the reflection is impossible.

That is possible only by practicing zazen… Satori is possible only by practicing zazen. Zazen means:

Just sitting, doing nothing, the spring comes and the grass grows by itself.

You are simply relaxing into your own being, not doing anything at all. It is not a question of doing; it is simply a question of being. You go on relaxing into your being. A moment comes when you are in your utter purity, in your utter simplicity, in your utter innocence. That is satori.

Zazen is a beautiful word. It simply means just sitting – not even doing meditation. In fact, you cannot do meditation. Meditation is just sitting silently; it is not a question of doing. If you are doing something you are disturbing your meditation.

Somebody is chanting a mantra; he is disturbing his meditation. Somebody is focusing on something; he is disturbing his meditation. Somebody is concentrating, somebody is praying, somebody is thinking of God: they are disturbing their meditation. All these are the doings of the mind, and if the doing continues the mind continues. Stop doing, and where is the mind? When the doing disappears, mind disappears. And the disappearance of the mind is satori.

It is beyond speculation, says Yoka. You cannot think about it, you can only experience it. It is the ultimate experience, and the immediate experience, too, of truth, of beauty, of love, of bliss, of God, of nirvana.

-OSHO

From Walking in Zen, Sitting in Zen, Chapter Four

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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Relaxation Without Concentration – Osho

When we start watching our bodies, and then our minds and emotions, there remains an element, although subtle, of concentration. Initially, for example, watching my breathing, I would watch it to the exclusion of everything else – here there was an element of focus. On other occasions, when silence is just there, the breathing may be all there is to watch. This seems to be nearer, but still I feel that more soft focusing of the awareness would take me further and further back, as if relaxing enough to to let the watcher move far enough away so that all is seen, rather than any one thing like thoughts or breathing. Does relaxing allow the watcher to be on the hill?

It is true. Relaxation helps the most. No part of concentration should be in your watchfulness. Concentration is sabotaging the whole process of watchfulness, because concentration is an act of the mind, and watchfulness is something that comes from above, from beyond. If there is any concentration… I can understand, if you start watching your breathing – in the name of watching, you are concentrating on the breathing, you are excluding everything else. Don’t exclude.

Watch your breathing inclusive of all.

Watching your breathing… a temple bell starts ringing, a car passes by, a child starts crying – all that should be included. Your watchfulness should be open. Watching the breathing is simply to begin with. It is not the end. It is just learning how to watch.

But there is a difficulty – you can start thinking that concentration is watching. Concentration is not watching. Concentration is narrow, narrowing the mind, bringing it to a focus on one thing, forgetting everything else. That’s why in relaxing, you will feel more watchful, yet without concentration. If that is happening, that’s perfectly good.

The essential thing is watchfulness, inclusive of all. Concentration can be disturbed, watchfulness cannot be disturbed. These are the differences. If somebody is concentrating on something, anybody can disturb him. Just a small boy can do something and he is distracted and his focus is lost – or not even a small boy, just the wind comes and the door opens and the noise is enough.

So you will find the phenomenon in so-called religious people. They are always angry, because their concentration is continuously disturbed.

Watchfulness cannot be disturbed. It is simply inclusive of all. If the door opens, makes a noise, the wind passes through the trees singing its song, it is available to it. It is not choosing breathing or anything in particular, but simply being there, open, available, present to everything that is happening.

So remember the difference: concentration is sabotaging watchfulness.

To begin with, something has to be given to you so you can have a little taste of what watchfulness is. Then it has to be made wider and wider and bigger, so much bigger that there is no need to do anything. You simply sit, or lie down relaxedly and everything that is happening around you is mirrored in you.

You don’t think about it, you don’t justify it, you don’t condemn it, you don’t evaluate it – you simply watch.

So it is perfectly right. Relaxation, utter relaxation with no focusing of consciousness is real watchfulness.

-Osho

From The Transmission of the Lamp, Chapter Twelve

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

An MP3 audio file of this discourse can be downloaded from Osho.com, or you can read the entire book online at the Osho Library.

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Let Consciousness Be Your Master – Osho

You say: Go beyond the mind. Do not listen to its chatter. Discipline it and make it a servant. Do not be its slave. But how to know when the mind is being disciplined and when it is being repressed. 

Prem Lisa, the difference is so great that it is impossible to miss it. Repression happens through fighting with your mind. Discipline happens through being watchful, aware, alert. In discipline, there is no fight implied. In discipline, there is no condemnation, no evaluation. One simply looks at the mind silently, seeing the whole traffic, without saying what is right and what is wrong, what should be and what should not be, just as, standing by the side of the road, you watch the people walking by – saints and sinners, beautiful people, ugly people, good people, bad people – but you are unconcerned. It has nothing to do with you; you are out of it.

That’s exactly the meaning of the English word “ecstasy”. Ecstasy means to be out of the mind. You are just looking, as one looks at the clouds moving in the sky or at the river flowing by – cool, detached. Neither are you trying to cling to something nor are you trying to push something away from you.

This is pure awareness: you are only a mirror. And in just being a mirror, the miracle happens – the miracle of discipline. Slowly, slowly, the traffic starts disappearing. Less and less thoughts are moving on the road; less and less pictures are appearing on the screen, less and less memories, fantasies. Gaps start appearing.

A mother was telling her child, “Be very careful when you go to school because the traffic is dangerous at rush hour time.”

The child said, “Don’t be worried. I always wait by the side of the road. When a gap comes by, then I cross the road.”

“When a gap comes by…” As you are looking at your mind you will be surprised: gaps come by, intervals when there is nothing to be seen. The observer remains alone and because it is alone it is no longer an observer either. You can’t call it an observer because there is nothing to observe. The mirror is there, but it is not reflecting anything. There is no duality of the seen and the seer. In these intervals discipline arises.

The word “discipline” is also beautiful. It is sometimes very significant to go to the roots of words. “Discipline” comes from a root which means learning. When you are looking at a gap, learning happens. Learning about what? Learning about yourself, because there is nothing else. You are full of awareness. You are just full of your own being, overflowing. And this experience of just being yourself, overflowing, undistracted by anything, undisturbed by anything, is the greatest learning, the greatest possibility of knowing the truth. This is discipline.

From the same root comes the word “disciple.” Disciple means one who is becoming capable of being utterly silent in the presence of the Master. The disciple is one who allows the interval to happen when he is with the Master. With the Master you are bridged only through silence; when there is nothing in your mind you are bridged. Something then transpires between the Master and the disciple. A flame jumps from the Master into the heart of the disciple. The unlit candle of the disciple suddenly becomes lit. All is joy and light and love, and a great dance arises.

Lisa, discipline can never be misunderstood as repression. Repressions are totally different. In repression you have already decided what is wrong – a priori decisions. In fact, others have decided for you what is wrong and what is right. Now you are simply trying to impose the ideas and opinions of others upon yourself. You will have to repress your nature. You will have to force that which is wrong – or which you have been told is wrong – deep into the unconscious. There will be a fight, great turmoil. Instead of bringing silence to you, every method of repression brings more turmoil.

That’s why the so-called religious people are more restless, more worried. You are worried only about this world; they are worried even about the other. You are worried only about this life, they are worried about many, many past lives and future lives. Your worries are nothing compared to the worries of the so-called religious people. And they are sitting on a volcano, because whatsoever is repressed is there; it is not destroyed.  Repression never destroys anything; you are simply sitting on top of it. And the danger is that you cannot sit on top of it for twenty-four hours a day; you have limitations. You will get tired, you will need some rest. And whenever you will be tired and you will need rest, repressions will start arising in you.

Hence, even your greatest saints go on thinking, fantasizing, dreaming about all those things that they have repressed.

Mahatma Gandhi has written in his autobiography: “I have been able to control my sexuality as far as my day is concerned, but in the night, in my dreams, it comes with a vengeance.” This he was writing at the age of seventy… a whole life of repression!

Yes, in the day you can somehow manage, but in the night, in the dreams, that which you have repressed in the day is bound to take revenge. It will come back, it will explode in you.

Hence, down the ages your saints have been very much afraid of sleep. They go on cutting down on their sleep – five hours, four hours, three hours, two hours. And the less they sleep the greater the danger, because all their repressions have to come in those two hours in a very condensed way. Then they are crowding in from everywhere. And people worship them! The less a saint sleeps, the more people worship him. They say, “Look how much he has sacrificed! What a great austerity he is doing – he is not even sleeping! Or he sleeps for only two hours or one hour.”

The reality is that he is afraid of sleep. And from where is the fear coming? The fear is coming from the fact that when you are awake you can control, but when you are asleep, who is there to control? The controller is asleep, is in a relaxed state. He cannot sit on top of all the repressions, and they will assert themselves.

So, Lisa, if you are fighting with anything, then it is not discipline. I don’t teach fight, I teach awareness. It is useless to fight with the darkness, utterly useless and stupid. Bring the light in. Why fight with darkness? And how can you ever hope to win by fighting with darkness? Bring the light in and the darkness is found no more.

You are surrounded by much darkness: greed, anger, jealousy, lust, ambition, ego. These are layers of darkness. If you start fighting with all these layers of darkness you are not going to win, because there is no way to fight with darkness directly. Darkness does not exist in the first place; it is only the absence of light. So if you want to do something with darkness, don’t try to do it directly, do something with light. If you want darkness, put the light out. If you don’t want darkness, put the light on. But do something with the light, forget about darkness. If the light is there, darkness is not there. If the light is not there, you cannot avoid darkness. You can close your eyes, you can try to forget about it, you can become occupied somewhere else, you can take your mind far, far away from it, but it is there all the same. And it will show in your acts, in your thoughts, in your behavior. It will come up again and again. You cannot hide it – it is impossible to hide it. The truth of your being, whatsoever it is, is bound to surface.

Lisa, become aware. And I am not saying what is wrong and what is right. I am simply saying: Be aware; or, awareness is right and unawareness is wrong. When you are aware, things will start changing of their own accord, and then the mind functions as a servant. It is a machine, a beautiful machine, one of the most complex machines invented by nature in thousands of years. Man has not yet been able to create anything comparable to it. Even the best computer is not yet so capable.

A single human mind can contain all the libraries of the world. It is almost infinite. Its capacity is great, its use is great, but it should be your servant not your master. As a servant it is beautiful; as a master it is dangerous.

Let consciousness be your master and mind your servant. It happens through awareness. And I am not telling you to control it, because all control is repression. I am not telling you to fight, because all fight is a sheer waste of energy. You are fighting with your own servant – you are wasting your energy. You need not fight with your servant, you have simply to say, “I am the master”; that’s all.

You have simply to be the master, that’s all, and the servant bows down. The servant immediately understands that the master has come in. And how does the master come in? The moment you become awake, the master comes in.

You ask me, Lisa:

You say: Go beyond the mind. Do not listen to its chatter. Discipline it and make it a servant. Don not be its slave. But how to know when the mind is being disciplined and when it is being repressed? 

It is very simple. Nobody can ever mistake the two; nobody can ever confuse the two. They are so different – just like light and darkness, just like love and hate, just like flowers and thorns, just like poison and nectar. They are so totally different! But if you think about them you may get confused.

In thinking you cannot make the distinction. Don’t think about them – experiment, experience, and the distinction will be absolutely clear.

-Osho

From Walking in Zen, Sitting in Zen, Chapter Three

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

An MP3 audio file of this discourse can be downloaded from Osho.com, or you can read the entire book online at the Osho Library.

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Samadhi Without Seeds – Osho

In yesterday’s sutra, Buddha says ‘someone who has set out in the vehicle of a Bodhisattva should decide that “I must lead all the beings to nirvana, into that realm of nirvana which leaves nothing behind.”’ What is this realm of nirvana which leaves nothing behind?

Buddha has talked about two kinds of nirvana. One he calls nirvana with substratum. The tree has disappeared, the tree of desires. The foliage, the leaves, the flowers, the fruits—everything has disappeared. But the roots are still there underground, hidden in the dark soil. From the outside the tree has been removed, but the tree is still capable of renewing itself again. The substratum is still there, the seed has not been burnt yet. This he calls ‘nirvana with substratum.

This is exactly the same that Patanjali calls nirbeej samadhi —samadhi with seed. It is very difficult from the outside. The tree has been completely removed, but underneath the soil the roots are still alive, waiting for the right moment to sprout again. Rains will come and they will sprout. They are waiting for their season, for the moment again to assert.

This is the state when many times you have come to the point where mind disappears, no-mind is felt, but again mind comes back, again it sprouts. You reach to a peak. That moment of that peak experience, you think all is finished—now you will never be falling back to the valley of darkness. You think that you will never go back into those ugly and miserable days—that the dark night of the soul is over, that the morning has arrived, that the sun has arisen.

But again one day you suddenly find you are slipping back into the darkness—again the valley, again light is no more, again that peak experience is just a memory. And one starts becoming doubtful whether it has happened or not. “Have I been just imagining? Or maybe I was just dreaming.” Because if it had happened then where has it gone?

Where is that sunlit peak? Where are those moments of ecstasy? And misery is back and anger is back and agony is back—you have fallen into hell again. This happens many times.

This Buddha calls nirvana with substratum; sabeej samadhi in Patanjali’s words. Manifestation of the world is gone but the unmanifested seed remains.

The second nirvana Buddha calls the nirvana without substratum—in Patanjali’s words nirbeej samadhi—seedless samadhi. Not only the tree has been destroyed, but the seed also burned. A burned seed cannot sprout again, all substratum is gone. Then you remain on the peak forever, then there is no falling back.

That’s what Buddha says in yesterday’s sutra: ‘Someone who has set out in the vehicle of a Bodhisattva should decide that “I must lead all being to nirvana, into that realm of nirvana which leaves nothing behind…”‘ which leaves no substratum, no roots, no seeds behind.

-OSHO

From The Diamond Sutra, Chapter Two

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

An MP3 audio file of this discourse can be downloaded from Osho.com, or you can read the entire book online at the Osho Library.

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Absolute Perfection is Here and Now – Nisargadatta Maharaj

Questioner: The war is on. What is your attitude to it?

Maharaj: In some place or other, in some form or other, the war is always on. Was there a time when there was no war? Some say it is the will of God. Some say it is God’s play. It is another way of saying that wars are inevitable and nobody is responsible.

Q: But what is your own attitude?

M: Why impose attitudes on me? I have no attitude to call my own.

Q: Surely somebody is responsible for this horrible and senseless carnage. Why do people kill each other so readily?

M: Search for the culprit within. The ideas of ‘me’ and ‘mine’ are at the root of all conflict. Be free of them and you will be out of conflict.

Q: What of it that I am out of conflict? It will not affect the war. If I am the cause of war, I am ready to be destroyed. Yet, it stands to reason that the disappearance of a thousand like me will not stop wars. They did not start with my birth nor will end with my death. I am not responsible. Who is?

M: Strife and struggle are a part of existence. Why don’t you enquire who is responsible for existence?

Q: Why do you say that existence and conflict are inseparable? Can there be no existence without strife? I need not fight others to be myself.

M: You fight others all the time for your survival as a separate body-mind, a particular name and form. To live you must destroy. From the moment you were conceived you started a war with your environment—a merciless war of mutual extermination, until death sets you free.

Q: My question remains unanswered. You are merely describing what I know, life and its sorrows. But who is responsible, you do not say. When I press you, you throw the blame on God, or karma, or on my own greed and fear—which merely invites further questions. Give me the final answer.

M: The final answer is this: nothing is. All is a momentary appearance in the field of the universal consciousness; continuity as name and form is a mental formation only, easy to dispel.

Q: I am asking about the immediate, the transitory, the appearance. Here is a picture of a child killed by soldiers. It is a fact—staring at you. You cannot deny it. Now, who is responsible for the death of the child?

M: Nobody and everybody. The world is what it contains and each thing affects all others. We all kill the child and we all die with it. Every event has innumerable causes and produces numberless effects. It is useless to keep accounts, nothing is traceable.

Q: Your people speak of karma and retribution.

M: It is merely a gross approximation: in reality we are all creators and creatures of each other, causing and bearing each other’s burden.

Q: So, the innocent suffers for the guilty?

M: In our ignorance we are innocent; in our actions we are guilty. We sin without knowing and suffer without understanding. Our only hope: to stop, to look, to understand and to get out of the traps of memory. For memory feeds imagination and imagination generates desire and fear.

Q: Why do I imagine at all?

M: The light of consciousness passes through the film of memory and throws pictures on your brain. Because of the deficient and disordered state of your brain, what you perceive is distorted and coloured by feelings of like and dislike. Make your thinking orderly and free from emotional overtones, and you will see people and things as they are, with clarity and charity.

The witness of birth, life and death is one and the same. It is the witness of pain and of love. For while the existence in limitation and separation is sorrowful, we love it. We love it and hate it at the same time. We fight, we kill, we destroy life and property and yet we are affectionate and self-sacrificing. We nurse the child tenderly and orphan it too. Our life is full of contradictions. Yet we cling to it. This clinging is at the root of everything. Still, it is entirely superficial. We hold on to something or somebody, with all our might and next moment we forget it; like a child that shapes its mud-pies and abandons them light-heartedly. Touch them—it will scream with anger, divert the child and he forgets them. For our life is now, and the love of it is now. We love variety, the play of pain and pleasure, we are fascinated by contrasts. For this we need the opposites and their apparent separation. We enjoy them for a time and then get tired and crave for the peace and silence of pure being. The cosmic heart beats ceaselessly. I am the witness and the heart too.

Q: I can see the picture, but who is the painter? Who is responsible for this terrible and yet adorable experience?

M: The painter is in the picture. You separate the painter from the picture and look for him. Don’t separate and don’t put false questions. Things are as they are and nobody in particular is responsible. The idea of personal responsibility comes from the illusion of agency. ‘Somebody must have done it, somebody is responsible’. Society as it is now, with its framework of laws and customs, is based on the idea of a separate and responsible personality, but this is not the only form a society can take. There may be other forms, where the sense of separation is weak and responsibility diffused.

Q: An individual with a weak sense of personality— is he nearer self-realisation?

M: Take the case of a young child. The sense of ‘I-am’ is not yet formed, the personality is rudimentary. The obstacles to self-knowledge are few, but the power and the clarity of awareness, its width and depth are lacking. In the course of years awareness will grow stronger, but also the latent personality will emerge and obscure and complicate. Just as the harder the wood, the hotter the flame, so the stronger the personality, brighter the light generated from its destruction.

Q: Have you no problems?

M: I do have problems. I told you already. To be, to exist with a name and form is painful, yet I love it.

Q: But you love everything!

M: In existence everything is contained. My very nature is to love; even the painful is lovable.

Q: It does not make it less painful. Why not remain in the unlimited?

M: It is the instinct of exploration, the love of the unknown, that brings me into existence. It is in the nature of being to see adventure in becoming, as it is in the very nature of becoming to seek peace in being. This alteration of being and becoming is inevitable; but my home is beyond.

Q: Is your home in God?

M: To love and worship a god is also ignorance. My home is beyond all notions, however sublime.

Q: But God is not a notion! It is the reality beyond existence.

M: You may use any word you like. Whatever you may think of I am beyond it.

Q: Once you know your home, why not stay in it? What takes you out of it?

M: Out of love for corporate existence one is born and once born, one gets involved in destiny. Destiny is inseparable from becoming. The desire to be the particular makes you into a person with all its personal past and future. Look at some great man, what a wonderful man he was! And yet how troubled was his life and limited its fruits. How utterly dependent is the personality of man and how indifferent is its world. And yet we love it and protect it for its very insignificance.

Q: The war is on and there is chaos and you are being asked to take charge of a feeding centre. You are given what is needed, it is only a question of getting through the job. Will you refuse it?

M: To work, or not to work, is one and the same to me. I may take charge, or may not. There may be others, better endowed for such tasks, than I am —professional caterers for instance. But my attitude is different. I do not look at death as a calamity as I do not rejoice at the birth of a child. The child is out for trouble while the dead is out of it. Attachment to life is attachment to sorrow. We love what gives us pain. Such is our nature.

For me the moment of death will be a moment of jubilation, not of fear. I cried when I was born and I shall die laughing.

Q: What is the change in consciousness at the moment of death?

M: What change do you expect? When the film projection ends all remains the same as when it started. The state before you were born was also the state after death, if you remember.

Q: I remember nothing.

M: Because you never tried. It is only a question of tuning in the mind. It requires training, of course.

Q: Why don’t you take part in social work?

M: But I am doing nothing else all the time! And what is the social work you want me to do? Patchwork is not for me. My stand is clear: produce to distribute, feed before you eat, give before you take, think of others before you think of yourself. Only a selfless society based on sharing can be stable and happy. This is the only practical solution. If you do not want it—fight.

Q: It is all a matter of gunas. Where tamas and rajas predominate, there must be war. Where sattva rules, there will be peace.

M: Put it whichever way you like, it comes to the same. Society is built on motives. Put goodwill into the foundations and you will not need specialised social workers.

Q: The world is getting better.

M: The world had all the time to get better, yet it did not. What hope is there for the future? Of course, there have been and will be periods of harmony and peace, when sattva was in ascendance, but things get destroyed by their own perfection. A perfect society is necessarily static and, therefore, it stagnates and decays. From the summit all roads lead downwards. Societies are like people—they are born, they grow to some point of relative perfection and then decay and die.

Q: Is there not a state of absolute perfection which does not decay?

M: Whatever has a beginning must have an end. In the timeless all is perfect, here and now.

Q: But shall we reach the timeless in due course?

M: In due course we shall come back to the starting point. Time cannot take us out of time, as space cannot take us out of space. All you get by waiting is more waiting. Absolute perfection is here and now, not in some future, near or far. The secret is in action—here and now. It is your behaviour that blinds you to yourself. Disregard whatever you think yourself to be and act as if you were absolutely perfect—whatever your idea of perfection may be. All you need is courage.

Q: Where do I find such courage?

M: In yourself, of course. Look within.

Q: Your grace will help.

M: My grace is telling you now: look within. All you need you have. Use it. Behave as best you know, do what you think you should. Don’t be afraid of mistakes; you can always correct them, only intentions matter. The shape things take is not within your power; the motives of your actions are.

Q: How can action born from imperfection lead to perfection?

M: Action does not lead to perfection; perfection is expressed in action. As long as you judge yourself by your expressions give them utmost attention; when you realise your own being, your behaviour will be perfect—spontaneously.

Q: If I am timelessly perfect, then why was I born at all? What is the purpose of this life?

M: It is like asking: what does it profit gold to be made into an ornament? The ornament gets the colour and the beauty of gold; gold is not enriched. Similarly, reality expressed in action makes the action meaningful and beautiful.

Q: What does the real gain through its expressions?

M: What can it gain? Nothing whatsoever. But it is in the nature of love to express itself, to affirm itself, to overcome difficulties. Once you have understood that the world is love in action, you will look at it quite differently. But first your attitude to suffering must change. Suffering is primarily a call for attention, which itself is a movement of love. More than happiness, love wants growth, the widening and deepening of consciousness and being. Whatever prevents becomes a cause of pain, and love does not shirk from pain. Sattva, the energy that works for righteousness and orderly development, must not be thwarted. When obstructed it turns against itself and becomes destructive. Whenever love is withheld and suffering allowed to spread, war becomes inevitable. Our indifference to our neighbour’s sorrow brings suffering to our door.

-Nisargadatta Maharaj

From I Am That, Chapter 82

Matter is Consciousness Itself – Nisargadatta Maharaj

Questioner: I was lucky to have holy company all my life. Is it enough for self-realisation?

Maharaj: It depends what you make of it.

Q: I was told that the liberating action of satsang is automatic. Just like a river carries one to the estuary, so the subtle and silent influence of good people will take me to reality.

M: It will take you to the river, but the crossing is your own. Freedom cannot be gained nor kept without will-to-freedom. You must strive for liberation; the least you can do is uncover and remove the obstacles diligently. If you want peace you must strive for it. You will not get peace just by keeping quiet.

Q: A child just grows. He does not make plans for growth, nor has he a pattern; nor does he grow by fragments, a hand here a leg there; he grows integrally and unconsciously.

M: Because he is free of imagination. You can also grow like this, but you must not indulge in forecasts and plans, born of memory and anticipation. It is one of the peculiarities of a jnani that he is not concerned with the future. Your concern with future is due to fear of pain and desire for pleasure, to the jnani all is bliss: he is happy with whatever comes.

Q: Surely, there are many things that would make even a jnani miserable.

M: A jnani may meet with difficulties, but they do not make him suffer. Bringing up a child from birth to maturity may seem a hard task, but to a mother the memories of hardships are a joy. There is nothing wrong with the world. What is wrong is in the way you look at it. It is your own imagination that misleads you. Without imagination there is no world. Your conviction that you are conscious of a world is the world. The world you perceive is made of consciousness; what you call matter is consciousness Itself. You are the space (akash) in which it moves, the time in which it lasts, the love that gives it life. Cut off imagination and attachment and what remains?

Q: The world remains. I remain.

M: Yes. But how different it is when you can see it as it is, not through the screen of desire and fear.

Q: What for are all these distinctions—reality and illusion, wisdom and ignorance, saint and sinner? Everyone is in search of happiness, everyone strives desperately; everyone is a Yogi and his life a school of wisdom. Each learns his own way the lessons he needs. Society approves of some, disapproves of others; there are no rules that apply everywhere and for all time.

M: In my world love is the only law. I do not ask for love, I give it. Such is my nature.

Q: I see you living your life according to a pattern. You run a meditation class in the morning, lecture and have discussions regularly; twice daily there is worship (puja) and religious singing (bhajan) in the evening. You seem to adhere to the routine scrupulously.

M: The worship and the singing are as I found them and I saw no reason to interfere. The general routine is according to the wishes of the people with whom I happen to live or who come to listen. They are working people, with many obligations and the timings are for their convenience. Some repetitive routine is inevitable. Even animals and plants have their time-tables.

Q: Yes, we see a regular sequence in all life. Who maintains the order? Is there an inner ruler, who lays down laws and enforces order?

M: Everything moves according to its nature. Where is the need of a policeman? Every action creates a reaction, which balances and neutralises the action. Everything happens, but there is a continuous cancelling out, and in the end it is as if nothing happened.

Q: Do not console me with final harmonies. The accounts tally, but the loss is mine.

M: Wait and see. You may end up with a profit good enough to justify the outlays.

Q: There is a long life behind me and I often wonder whether its many events took place by accident, or there was a plan. Was there a pattern laid down before I was born by which I had to live my life? If yes, who made the plans and who enforced them? Could there be deviations and mistakes? Some say destiny is immutable and every second of life is predetermined; others say that pure accident decides everything.

M: You can have it as you like. You can distinguish in your life a pattern or see merely a chain of accidents. Explanations are meant to please the mind. They need not be true. Reality is indefinable and indescribable.

Q: Sir, you are escaping my question! I want to know how you look at it. Wherever we look we find structure of unbelievable intelligence and beauty. How can I believe that the universe is formless and chaotic? Your world, the world in which you live, may be formless, but it need not be chaotic.

M: The objective universe has structure, is orderly and beautiful. Nobody can deny it. But structure and pattern, imply constraint and compulsion. My world is absolutely free; everything in it is self-determined. Therefore I keep on saying that all happens by itself. There is order in my world too, but it is not imposed from outside. It comes spontaneously and immediately, because of its timelessness. Perfection is not in the future. It is now.

Q: Does your world affect mine?

M: At one point only—at the point of the now. It gives it momentary being, a fleeting sense of reality. In full awareness the contact is established. It needs effortless, un-self-conscious attention.

Q: Is not attention an attitude of mind?

M: Yes, when the mind is eager for reality, it gives attention. There is nothing wrong with your world, it is your thinking yourself to be separate from it that creates disorder. Selfishness is the source of all evil.

Q: I am coming back to my question. Before I was born, did my inner self decide the details of my life, or was it entirely accidental and at the mercy of heredity and circumstances?

M: Those who claim to have selected their father and mother and decided how they are going to live their next life may know for themselves. I know for myself. I was never born.

Q: I see you sitting in front of me and replying my questions.

M: You see the body only which, of course, was born and will die.

Q: It is the life-story of thus body-mind that I am interested in. Was it laid down by you or somebody else, or did it happen accidentally?

M: There is a catch in your very question. I make no distinction between the body and the universe. Each is the cause of the other; each is the other, in truth. But I am out of it all. When I am telling you that I was never born, why go on asking me what were my preparations for the next birth? The moment you allow your imagination to spin, it at once spins out a universe. It is not at all as you imagine and I am not bound by your imaginings.

Q: It requires intelligence and energy to build and maintain a living body. Where do they come from?

M: There is only imagination. The intelligence and power are all used up in your imagination. It has absorbed you so completely that you just cannot grasp how far from reality you have wandered. No doubt imagination is richly creative. Universe within universe are built on it. Yet they are all in space and time, past and future, which just do not exist.

Q: I have read recently a report about a little girl who was very cruelly handled in her early childhood. She was badly mutilated and disfigured and grew up in an orphanage, completely estranged from its surroundings. This little girl was quiet and obedient, but completely indifferent. One of the nuns who were looking after the children, was convinced that the girl was not mentally retarded, but merely withdrawn, irresponsive. A psychoanalyst was asked to take up the case and for full two years he would see the child once a week and try to break the wall of isolation. She was docile and well-behaved, but would give no attention to her doctor. He brought her a toy house, with rooms and movable furniture and dolls representing father, mother and their children. It brought out a response, the girl got interested. One day the old hurts revived and came to the surface. Gradually she recovered, a number of operations brought back her face and body to normal and she grew into an efficient and attractive young woman. It took the doctor more than five years, but the work was done. He was a real Guru! He did not put down conditions nor talk about readiness and eligibility. Without faith, without hope, out of love only he tried and tried again.

M: Yes, that is the nature of a Guru. He will never give up. But, to succeed, he must not be met with too much resistance. Doubt and disobedience necessarily delay. Given confidence and pliability, he can bring about a radical change in the disciple speedily. Deep insight in the Guru and earnestness in the disciple, both are needed. Whatever was her condition, the girl in your story suffered for lack of earnestness in people. The most difficult are the intellectuals. They talk a lot, but are not serious.

What you call realisation is a natural thing. When you are ready, your Guru will be waiting. Sadhana is effortless. When the relationship with your teacher is right you grow. Above all, trust him. He cannot mislead you.

Q: Even when he asks me to do something patently wrong?

M: Do it. A Sanyassi had been asked by his Guru to marry. He obeyed and suffered bitterly. But his four children were all saints and seers, the greatest in Maharashtra. Be happy with whatever comes from your Guru and you will grow to perfection without striving.

Q: Sir, have you any wants or wishes. Can I do anything for you?

M: What can you give me that I do not have? Material things are needed for contentment. But I am contented with myself. What else do I need?

Q: Surely, when you are hungry you need food and when sick you need medicine.

M: Hunger brings the food and illness brings the medicine. It is all nature’s work.

Q: lf I bring something I believe you need, will you accept it?

M: The love that made you offer will make me accept.

Q: If somebody offers to build you a beautiful Ashram?

M: Let him, by all means. Let him spend a fortune, employ hundreds, feed thousands.

Q: Is it not a desire?

M: Not at all. I am only asking him to do it properly, not stingily, half-heartedly. He is fulfilling his own desire, not mine. Let him do it well and be famous among men and gods.

Q: But do you want it?

M: I do not want it.

Q: Will you accept it?

M: I don’t need it.

Q: Will you stay in it?

M: If I am compelled.

Q: What can compel you?

M: Love of those who are in search of light.

Q: Yes, I see your point. Now, how am I to go into samadhi?

M: If you are in the right state, whatever you see will put you into samadhi. After all, samadhi is nothing unusual. When the mind is intensely interested, it becomes one with the object of interest — the seer and the seen become one in seeing, the hearer and the heard become one in hearing, the lover and the loved become one in loving. Every experience can be the ground for samadhi.

Q: Are you always in a state of samadhi?

M: Of course not Samadhi is a state of mind, after all. I am beyond all experience, even of samadhi. I am the great devourer and destroyer: whatever I touch dissolves into void (akash).

Q: I need samadhis for self-realisation.

M: You have all the self-realisation you need, but you do not trust it. Have courage, trust yourself, go, talk, act; give it a chance to prove itself. With some, realisation comes imperceptibly, but somehow they need convincing. They have changed, but they do not notice it. Such non-spectacular cases are often the most reliable.

Q: Can one believe himself to be realised and be mistaken?

M: Of course. The very idea ‘I am self-realised’ is a mistake. There is no ‘I am this’. ‘I am that’ in the Natural State.

-Nisargadatta Maharaj

From I Am That, Chapter 61